Here are some of the photos from the Ladybird exhibition:  Ladybird Artists Opening Event in Canterbury on Friday 8th (the evening before the public opening).

It will run until the 23rd September 2018 at The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge – the central museum, library and art gallery of the city of Canterbury.  Entry is free.

Thanks so much to those who attended – sometimes for long distances – to make it such an enjoyable evening.

Me, feeling a bit anxious, shortly before my opening speech.

Not sure where to go to get to the Ladybird artists exhibition? Follow the Ladybirds along the corridor and up the steps.

Wall of Ladybird books

The wall of Ladybird books – everything printed in the ‘golden years’ of Ladybird – 1950 – 1975

John Kenney's family

The family of Ladybird artist John Kenney. Among others, Kenney illustrated most of the History Ladybird books and the much-loved Tootles the Taxi

Peter and Jane – now all grown-up – with the top hat that was a prop sometimes used when Ladybird book artist Martin Aitchison used his young neighbours as models for the original 1960s readers.

The daughter and son (Alex and Justin) of Ladybird artist Robert Lumley. Robert Lumley illustrated some of the best-loved Ladybird books of all time, including ‘The Elves and the Shoemaker’ and ‘Three Billy Goats Gruff’.

‘Jane’ (her real name is actually Jean) enjoys a joke with a member of the Beaney staff

‘Jane’ standing beside her childhood dolls pram, also depicted by Martin Aitchison in his original Ladybird book illustrations

‘Peter’ and comedy writer Jason Hazeley

The current High Sheriff of Kent, Jane Ashton tells me a good joke. (She’s the one on the left).  (That’s not the joke)

Margaret Robinson, the wife of Ladybird book artist B H (Bernard) Robinson stands beside a case which includes a little of his original Ladybird artwork

Kent farmer William Alexander was key to this exhibition taking place. When he was High Sheriff of Kent, he introduced me to Joanna Jones, then a director at The Beaney. Here he enjoys ‘The Farmer’ in the reading corner.

Hard-working museum curator Manda Gifford worked all hours to present this exhibition. She says she enjoyed it …

Me with B H Robinson’s son Steve, who modelled for a number of his father’s books.

Steve Robinson stands near the ‘How-it-works’ Ladybird books – most of which were illustrated by his father B H Robinson

Justin Lumley, myself and Alex Lumley

Kent-based Ladybird book collector Paul Crampton with friend Brenda, contemplating some Harry Wingfield artwork.

A group picture including Caroline Alexander (daughter of Ladybird Commissioning Editor Douglas Keen) with Helen and Jane Robinson, Margaret Robinson and Eric Winter’s son Tony. Eric Winter illustrated some of the best loved Ladybird books, including Cinderella and The Princess and the Pea.

Jenny Pearce, daughter of Douglas Keen, talks to Jason Hazeley. They are standing near a beautiful railway poster, illustrated by Ladybird book illustrator Ronald Lampitt.

I liked the way that the curator of the exhibition blended The Beaney’s collections with some of the Ladybird nature books.

‘Peter’ (real name, Andrew) modelling the prop which features several times in the books – a collapsable top-hat.

The Beaney is a beautiful mixture of old and new architecture. The opening speech took place in the beautiful Explorers room.

‘Peter and Jane’ stand in front of a Ladybird classroom poster. You can see that, although over 50 years have passed since they modelled for these book, their smiles are still the same.

BBC Radio Kent came to talk about the exhibition with us for a forthcoming Arts show.

In the interview with BBC Radio Kent, I seem to have got very animated. But then, I do.

Peter, Jane and myself read from a 1964 Ladybird book. I played the narrator. Peter and Jane played themselves.

After the event, a number of us went out for dinner. Of course, I had to try on Peter’s hat.